Western Women, Religion, and Self-Hate

There is a strange cognitive dissonance that echoes between the western and eastern halls of practicing Muslims, and it surrounds the question of headwear.

In recent years the West has taken a number of stances on the various head scarves and bags Muslim women wrap themselves in. In France, an uncompromising approach has been taken in regard to the fuller covering, the burqa. While in the USA, there remain, as far as I know, no laws that prohibit shrouding oneself like an embalmed corpse. For the best I suppose.

Traditionally Muslim countries have been equally varied though tending conservatively, ranging from mere suggestions to indulge in sartorial chauvinism to unequivocally demanding the burqa at all times in public.

There is an interesting trend among Muslim American and European women who claim their head scarves and coverings are in fact acts of female empowerment. Indeed, they seriously and resolutely claim that by exercising their right to these various covers they are joining the West’s ranks of radical feminists by defiantly showcasing an emblem of their supposedly oppressed faith.

The trouble with this logic is that no matter how one describes, rationalizes, or founds the practice of shrouding women, be it just their hair or their entire body, the inescapable reality is that an extreme and covetously violent chauvinism underpins it. A paralyzing fear and contempt for female sexual liberty and personal independence was and remains the only driving force for this nonsense and it is a truism to say so. Any person in disagreement is either deluded or insidious.

If you doubt this then ask yourself for alternatives. Why does it behoove Catholicism to forbid women from access to its hierarchy, the people capable of making real and meaningful decisions? Was not Mother Mary the purest Christian to ever live? Good enough to give birth to God but apparently not enough to be pope or even a mere parish priest. Why should the Mormons have permitted polygamy for men but not for women? Are there so few male Mormons? And again, why in Islam should family and male honor depend so desperately on female purity and virtue? Strange indeed that women alone should be burdened with so much responsibility and yet so little actual power.

It goes without saying that the vast majority of countries that do not forcibly segregate their men and women lead happier, healthier, and more fulfilling lives. Why anyone pretends otherwise seems bizarre and I can only assume that it is the overwhelming privilege of choice that convinces these women they are committing an act of bravery rather than surrender. Were they living in Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan I ponder if they would remain so resolute.

I of course believe people should wear what makes them comfortable and if that includes mummifying yourself every morning out of submission to your husband and religion then hey, knock yourself out. But when it comes to these Catholic, Muslim, Mormon, and other such ladies that claim their respective faiths support equality, and that their acts of submission are in fact acts of protest against an intolerant world, I can do little but scoff. It is a desperate, pathetic, and very sad delusion these people exist in, convincing themselves that they are loved instead of despised. It reminds me of a chained and starving dog that thanks its abusive master for remembering to throw it scraps.

It must be that the deeply religious, especially deeply religious women, have some of the lowest self-esteem in all humanity. To allow yourself to be so debased, degraded, found so unworthy, can only be testament to a yawning void of self-love and reflection. These western women are so different from their sisters in other states where, more often than not, the ultimatum is behave or burn.





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